Striker Vaughan's return is a big boost for Raith Rovers

Raith Rovers manager John McGlynn hailed the return of Lewis Vaughan as his side prepares for one of its biggest games of the season so far.

Friday, 21st December 2018, 11:16 am
Updated Friday, 21st December 2018, 12:21 pm
Lewis Vaughan (right) celebrates after scoring Rovers' fourth goal against Dumbarton last Saturday.

The striker made a scoring return from a groin injury in the 4-2 win over Dumbarton and McGlynn said he was a crucial part of the side which will travel to take on runaway League One leaders Arbroath on Saturday.

“He’s a massive player for us and he’s been badly missed,” he said.

“We’re disappointed with the games we’ve lost this season but I think if we’d had Lewis in the side we wouldn’t have.

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“The guys have been trying the best they can to keep us on track but it’s great to have Lewis back.”

Vaughan’s return means that the Kirkcaldy side, badly hampered by injuries so far this season, has an almost completely clean bill of health.

McGlynn said: “At the moment it’s only really Regan Hendry that’s out because we are expecting Callum Crane to be back for this weekend from his knee injury.

“We have Chris Duggan back, we have Grant Gillespie back, Lewis and hopefully Callum back, so that’s exactly what I’m looking for, to have a really strong squad now and until the end of the season.”

McGlynn takes his side to play Arbroath at Gayfield – a side with a 13-point lead at the top of the league and one of only two sides in the whole of the UK with an unbeaten league record this season, the other being Liverpool.

“You go from one game to the next and they’re all big games, but obviously we’re playing the team that is at the top of the league,” he said.

“They’re unbeaten, so somebody has to beat them. We want to take that responsibility on the to go up there and win the game.

“They’ve lost two cup ties – to Stranraer in the Scottish Cup and Edinburgh City in the Challenge Cup – so it’s maybe up to us to show the way that it can also be done in the league.”

With Rovers in good form, having won four out of their last five league games, McGlynn says it’s a clash they can go into with confidence.

“Arbroath know that they’re going to be in a game, we know we’re going to be in a game, and we’ll be looking to come out the other end as the first team to beat them in the league this season and to narrow the gap down to 10 points.

“There’s still half of the season to go so that would not be insurmountable for us to achieve that.

“It’s a big game and the top four actually play each other this weekend with East Fife playing Forfar, so we have a great opportunity to close the gap on Arbroath and keep away from the third and fourth placed teams.

“But we’re not daft – if we get beat the gap climbs to 16 points and that would be a mountain to climb. If we get a draw it stays at 13 points but we want to close that gap and we’ll never give up.

“In a normal season you’re going to lose two or three games in half a season and that’s what we’ve done. What’s not normal is Arbroath have continued unbeaten and in this quarter alone they’ve won every game. They have identical stats to Liverpool. It’s incredible.

“But we were the last team to take points off them, so we’re going up there, 11 versus 11, and looking to win that game.”